Are we human or are we dancer?

(I prefer this.)

I think I’m dancer than the average.

Just a little.

Humanity’s a weird thing. It doesn’t just mean a particular kind of biped. There’s more arrogance than that. You show something humanity, you are humane.

So to be human is more than just to be a human.

Humanity, like that, is apparently kindness and empathy. It’s a noble ideal, a bold statement. It’s arrogant and often untrue.

But it’s something to aim for.

Dancer is a reindeer.

Dancing is movement through space. Some kind of attachment to noise, music and rhythm. Dancing is that expression. For me, it’s another way of emodying music. Of interacting with sounds that have power over me. Physical expression of the emotions I can hear.

I definitely feel dancer at times than I do human.

And there’s something inhuman in dancing.

I caught myself the other day. Out at a gig, listening to intense electronic dance punk. Thrashing repetitive drums, immense cycling synthesisers. The whole overwhelmed. I cam to ignore the cool kids listening patiently, and ended up letting my body do the talking.

Violent pulsing. Rhythmic jerking. Constant motion in every direction. Crashing and cresting and slamming back to the ground. Finding patterns in which to jut and strut and wander.

You give yourself over to something other than sense and rationality.

It’s quite enjoyable.

But is it inhuman?

It’s hard to say.

It’s closer to a form of empathy. It’s about listening and letting go. About trying to experience something outside of yourself, something that you aren’t experiencing directly. It can be an attempt to tap into someone elses emotion.

But then it’s also performance. It’s not done out of selflessness. We dance for pleasure. Occasionally for self expression.

And the pros dance to communicate.

For my birthday I went to see Hotel Pro Forma’s performance of the opera written by the Knife: Tomorrow in a year.

The dancers were exploring evolution. Using their bodies to trace the tracks worn by speciation through the space of potential life.

Less than human, but more fascinating.

The music and visuals and movement of the dancers created some kind of thought provoking whole. Obvious connections between different dancers created some kind of narrative. I couldn’t follow, but I was struck by the way they connected with each other.

They never stopped being human, but in the way they moved, they seemed quite animal. Shadow and self combined and interplayed to create strange many armed creatures.

Two dancers would move so close to harmony, creating new shapes and bodies.

So at least sometimes, Dancer is better than human. Though better than what?

We are both. We are human, and we are dancer than that.

It’s a false choice, as well as a false grammar.

Dance can make us feel more human. More alive. More ourselves. Even though it is often a sacrifice of our logic and the directness of our communication.

I’m probably making less sense than if I tried to dance the answer.

Illustration by Lucy.


About Alex Ava

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Lucy, Questions by Kate. Bookmark the permalink.

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